Which delivery company should your business use? Logistics is often a pain-point for many companies and it can be difficult to decide which carrier is the right choice for your business.

Logistics is becoming more and more competitive, and each delivery company can offer unique services. This can provide many different benefits, but you need to decide what services both your business needs AND what your customers want. Researching each carrier to make sure you choose the right option for you is essential. Read more to find out how to choose the best delivery company for your business and what you need to consider to make the decision.

This article also includes an overview of the biggest European carriers: DHL Parcel, DHL Express, DPD, UPS, and GLS: Keep reading for more information on each carrier.
shipping with sendcloud

How To Choose The Right Delivery Company For Your Business

Before you begin researching individual shipping services, ensure to establish the following:

  1. Determine how many packages you ship monthly
  2. Establish whether you ship domestically, internationally or both
  3. Plan a realistic budget to prevent overspending on shipping
  4. Learn your customers’ expectations
  5. Set realistic achievements
  6. Decide whether to offer more than one delivery option

It’s important to know the volume of your shipments and where you ship to. This can greatly impact your choice, choosing between a delivery company that is more locally focussed (national) to something that’s more widespread, even global (international).

A set budget will also help prevent loss of profits. If the products you ship have small profit margins, you will need to ensure shipping won’t eat into this. However, if you have the profit margins to facilitate flexibility, you could consider offering different premium services with competitive prices. This could include Weekend and Same-Day delivery or even a delivery subscription service. These can impress your customers with more choices for their convenience, and help ensure they purchase from your webstore.

Ensure to balance what your customers want and expect with their delivery with the budget you have available. Having this clear in your mind will help you choose the correct services for your business.

However, avoid putting budget before quality of service. Be realistic with what services can be offered, but prioritise a good delivery service too. Many customers won’t return to your store, even leaving a negative review, if their delivery experience is a bad one.

How To Research Which Delivery Company To Choose

Once you have determined the above, you will have a clear idea of what your business will need from its shipping services. Now you can start the research process. This helps to avoid just choosing the most convenient or cheapest service. Proper research ensures you provide the best for your customers.

Multiple Carriers

You can also consider whether you will have more than one shipping option. Combining carriers can have benefits for both you and your customers.

Customers will have control with their delivery and are empowered to click “Buy”. Give them the choice to decide which carrier they prefer, what they want to pay for their delivery, and how long it will take. Offering Pickup Points also allows them to choose where the delivery goes. This all helps push customers to convert and increase your sales. 

Offering several carriers is easy for you to do in the Sendcloud environment. It not only offers your customers several different services, but it can also help alleviate risks for yourself. For example, if any bottlenecks occur – like technical issues, overloading, or strikes from the carriers – easily switch between your choices to ensure your shipping process still runs smoothly.  

Beginning The Research

Continue reading for an outline of the major European carriers. This includes their company overview and some of their services. Whether you’re just starting out with shipping, or you’re a seasoned expert wanting to know more, take the time to find out the options available. Then you can make an informed decision about who to entrust delivering to your customers.

Please note, this is a general overview; details and services for each carrier may vary from country to country. Please ensure to research for your own nation in more detail. 

Which Delivery Company Is Best For My Business: DHL vs DPD vs GLS vs UPS

european carrier dhl
DHL Parcel is a division of German logistics company Deutche Post DHL. Deutche Post DHL is actually the world’s largest logistics company. It is active in over 220 countries worldwide with courier, parcel and express mail services. 
DHL Parcel provide standard domestic and international parcel pick-up, delivery and return solutions for business customers and consumers as well as e-commerce logistics and facilitation services.
european carrier dhl expressDHL Express is another division of German logistics company Deutche Post DHL. 

DHL Express offers both domestic and international shipping, but specialise in international operations. Their global reach and local teams ensure fast delivery with end-to-end tracking and customs clearance. The plans under this type of service focus on time critical delivery services.
shipping with dpdDPD is the 2nd largest parcel deliverer in Europe. It’s the first cross-border road network in Europe to have its own operations in 23 countries. With a network of more than 42,000 Pickup points, DPDgroup delivers 5.2 million parcels each day through the brands DPD, Chronopost, SEUR and BRT. It’s also a consumer favourite in many countries, with a favourable reputation.
european carrier upsUPS was initially founded as a messenger company in the United States in 1907. It is now a multi-billion-dollar corporations, with a focus on enabling global commerce. 
UPS is one of the most recognised and admired brands around the world. It’s the world’s largest package delivery company, and a leading global provider of specialized transportation and logistics services. 
shipping with GLSGeneral Logistics Systems B.V. – commonly known as GLS – is a Dutch, British-owned logistics company based in Amsterdam. It is a subsidiary of British postal service Royal Mail. 

GLS covers 41 European countries and eight U.S. states. They provide reliable parcel dispatch services to companies of all sizes from all sectors. This includes both business-to-business and business-to-consumer, whether national or international.

The Key Services for each Delivery Company

european delivery company

The Key Benefits for each Delivery Company

recommended european carriers

Shipping with DHL Parcel dhl parcel header

With DHL Parcel Connect, DHL eCommerce Solutions (DHL Parcel) offers a shipping solution with consistent standards for senders and recipients throughout Europe. Go one step further and send shipments to over 220 countries and territories with DHL Parcel International.

DHL Parcel Connect – For delivery within Europe

DHL Parcel Connect supplies shipping all across their European network. They offers fast transit times with high quality end-to-end transparency and a wide range of services for recipients. The strength of their network and selected partners helps them to provide this.

Requirements for DHL Parcel Connect: 

  • Weight: Up to 31.5kg
  • Dimension: Maximum 120 x 60 x 60cm
  • Fast transit times: typically ranging between 1-3 days
  • For customers in all DHL Parcel Europe countries
  • Delivery in all DHL Parcel Europe and partner countries
  • End-to-End transparency through track & trace including pre-delivery notification
  • Saturday and delivery on preferred day possible
  • Direct delivery to Parcelshop or Parcelstation
  • Standard insurance up to €500 included
  • Additional services available (e.g. cash on delivery, pick-up services, bulky goods)

DHL Parcel International – For shipments worldwide

DHL Parcel International Standard provides parcel shipping to +220 countries. Benefit from simplified postal customs clearance, reliable transit times and end-to-end tracking. 

Requirements for DHL Parcel International: 

  • Weight: Up to 31,5kg (varies per destination, 20kg possible)
  • Dimension:
    • Europe: maximum 120 x 60 x 60cm, maximum girth 300cm
    • Americas, Aspac: maximum length 42 inches, maximum length & width 79 inches
  • 220 worldwide destinations available
  • Range-definite transit times (typically between 5-10 days)
  • End-to-end tracking
  • Delivery through local postal providers
  • Simplified postal customs clearance
  • Standard insurance up to €500 included

When To Use The Delivery Company DHL Parcel? 

  • If you’re looking for an economical, flexible cross-border shipping solutions with a broad geographic coverage to more than 220 countries 
  • If you ship both domestically and internationally

DHL is an extremely reliable choice for any business. As the biggest logistics provider globally, it is well recognised and respected by consumers and businesses alike.

DHL Parcel has a strong network throughout Europe, and hosts extra benefits for both consumer and business shipments.  

Shipping DHL Parcel Connect with Sendcloud

DHL Parcel Connect is available with Sendcloud in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. Integrate carriers directly to your webstore and start shipping with DHL with Sendcloud today. 

Shipping with DHL Express 

dhl express headerDHL Express has been a global expert in international trade for over 4 decades. They process several million customs entries every day and use local expertise to understand diverse customs regulations. They focus on international courier delivery with time critical results. 

DHL can help small businesses with global custom requirements and trade terminology. They’re also able to support with local imports and exports and resources. This means they’re able to help you as a business navigate the complexities of customs. Their support can help you begin shipping internationally without facing difficulties. 

Export Services: International Express Delivery

DHL’s Express service to another country includes; emergency same-day delivery, time-critical next-day delivery, to less urgent options. 

Same Day:

ServiceDelivery Commitment
DHL SAMEDAY JETLINEEmergency next flight out: delivery within the shortest possible time
DHL SAMEDAY SPRINTLINEEmergency dedicated vehicle: delivery within the shortest possible time

Time Definite:

ServiceDelivery Commitment
DHL EXPRESS 9:00Time-critical: delivery on the next possible day by 9:00 a.m.
DHL EXPRESS 10:30Time-critical: delivery on the next possible day by 10:30 a.m.
DHL EXPRESS 12:00Time-critical: delivery on the next possible day by 12:00 noon
DHL EXPRESS WORLDWIDETime-sensitive: delivery by end of next possible day
DHL EXPRESS ENVELOPETime-sensitive: documents by end of next possible day
DHL EXPRESS EASYTime-sensitive: available at DHL Service Points

Day Definite: 

ServiceDelivery Commitment
DHL GLOBALMAIL BUSINESSInternational non-sorted, non-franked business correspondence

Domestic Services: Local Express Delivery

DHL’s Domestic express delivery within your country including; emergency same-day and time-critical next-day delivery, as well as less urgent guaranteed options. 

Same Day:

ServiceDelivery Commitment
DHL SAMEDAY SPRINTLINEEmergency dedicated vehicle: delivery within the shortest possible time

Time Definite:

ServiceDelivery Commitment
DHL EXPRESS 9:00 DOMESTICTime-critical: delivery on the next possible day by 9:00 a.m.
DHL EXPRESS 10:30 DOMESTICTime-critical: delivery on the next possible day by 10:30 a.m.
DHL EXPRESS 12:00 DOMESTICTime-critical: delivery on the next possible day by 12:00 noon
DHL EXPRESS 18:00 DOMESTIC Time-sensitive: delivery by end of next possible day
DHL EXPRESS EASYTime-sensitive: available at DHL Service Points

When To Use The Delivery Company DHL Express? 

Using DHL Express is great for making sure that your products get to your customers on-time and in good condition too. Generally, DHL Express is best for companies who:

  • Need regular international shipping services
  • Intend on venturing into new cross-border markets
  • Need timely delivery of products, especially perishable goods
  • Need to track shipments very closely and carefully

Shipping DHL Express with Sendcloud

DHL Express is available in all countries with Sendcloud. You can even use DHL’s Paperless Trade with Sendcloud to digitally forward your customs forms. This is an automatic process that will save time and cut the need to print and attach the forms yourself. 

Read more about shipping with DHL Express here. 

Shipping With DPD

dpd headerDPD offers services split into Domestic and International choices.

Domestic: 

  • Classic Service – the most economical option for your parcel shipping 
  • Express Service – DPD 10:00, DPD 12:00 or DPD 18:00 and the parcel will arrive before this allotted time 
  • Ecommerce Services – offer your customers the choice of either Pickup, Predict, or DPD Home

International: 

  • DPD Classic – one of the fastest, most reliable delivery services in Europe. Packages usually reach their European destination in one to four days 
  • Air Classic – international service for non-time sensitive shipments with full tracking
  • DPD Express – a global express network with service to more than 200 countries worldwide
  • DPD Guarantee – non-urgent international parcels that still must reach the client within a certain time 

DPD services

DPD Services 

Pickup: 

Customers can receive and send packages at the Pickup point of their choice. DPD has over 42,000 parcel shops and self-service lockers across the globe, with 95% of Europeans located less than 15 minutes away from a Pickup Point. 

Predict: 

Predict helps consumers know the exact hour their parcel will arrive. The service sends delivery information via SMS or email, getting rid of the need to wait in the house the whole day. It’s also easy for consumers to change the time, day, or place of delivery if their plans change. 

Precise: 

Consumers can select their own date and one hour delivery slot from the available list. Consumers are also offered to choose the “green slot”. This is the time the driver will be in the area, minimising traffic and CO2 gas emissions. 

When To Use The Delivery Company DPD? 

  • If you want to offer your customers control with Pickup, Precise, and Predict 
  • If you are conscious about ensuring your delivery has a minimal impact on the environment
  • You want a cost effective service

DPD is a great choice if you want to offer your consumers control with their delivery. They have the capability to choose the day, time, and place at their own convenience with Precise, Predict and Pick Up. 

DPD is also currently #1 on the voluntary carbon offset market in the CEP sector. If this aligns with your company’s ethics, then DPD is a good choice for you. 

Shipping DPD with Sendcloud

Shipping with DPD is currently available in all countries with Sendcloud. 

Choose between the following services: 

  • DPD Home
  • DPD Pickup Point
  • DPD Classic

Learn more about shipping with DPD here. Find out which services are available with Sendcloud and how to integrate DPD into your webstore. 

Shipping With GLS

european carrier glsGLS splits its services into 3 sections. Choose either National shipment, or European or Global International shipment. 

National Shipment – BusinessParcel 

  • The basic product for national parcel delivery
  • Ship up to 32kg with standard delivery time of 24 hours 
  • Liability of up to 500 euro per parcel
  • Real time Track and Trace, with second delivery attempt included
  • ExpressParcel

A National ExpressParcel will arrive before 17:00 the next working day. Earlier times (before 09:00 or 12:00) and Saturday delivery are also possible.

International Shipment – EuroBusinessParcel 

Send your packages to a European nation in an average of 24-48 hours. Distant regions usually take up to 72 to 120 hours. 

  • Liability of up to 500 euro per parcel
  • Online Track and Trace, with second delivery attempt included (depending) 

International Shipment – GlobalBusinessParcel

Dispatch parcels globally to major business centres such as the U.S., Japan, Hong Kong or Singapore in just a few days. 

  • Easy and fast processing 
  • Real time online Track and Trace
  • Second delivery attempt included 
  • Liability up to the value max 500 euro per parcel

When To Use The Delivery Company GLS? 

  • If you need fast international shipping
  • If you want to choose options that will help offset your delivery 

GLS is a strong solution for intra-Europe delivery. Ship your products to consumers in as little as 24 hours with EuroBusinessParcel. 

GLS also offers its ThinkGreenService with GLS investing in externally certified reforestation projects. This service is bookable for; BusinessParcel, BusinessSmallParcel, EuroBusinessParcel, and EuroBusinessSmallParcel. 

Shipping GLS with Sendcloud 

Find out more about shipping with GLS and Sendcloud, and how to integrate GLS into your webstore.

Choose to send packages via our pre-negotiated terms (DE), or even connect your own shipping contract (DE, FR) and use the Sendcloud platform to make your shipping process more efficient.

Shipping With UPS

european carrier upsUPS offers guaranteed time-definite and day-definite worldwide delivery based on your shipment’s destination. Choose between either Domestic or International Services. 

Domestic Shipping Services 

Times and services may vary depending on country

SERVICEDELIVERY COMMITMENTSERVICE 
UPS Express Plus1 Business DayNext day delivery typically  by 08.30 – 09.30 a.m.
UPS Express1 Business DayNext day delivery typically by 10.30 – 12:00 noon
UPS Express Saver1 Business DayNext day delivery by the end of the day
UPS StandardDay-Definite by Date ScheduledFast, reliable service for less urgent shipments
UPS Access Point EconomyDay-Definite by Date ScheduledShip to and from UPS Access Point locations

Internationl Shipping Services 

Times and services may vary depending on country

SERVICEDELIVERY COMMITMENTSERVICE 
UPS Express Plus1 – 2 Business DaysInternational delivery by 9.00 a.m.  
UPS Express NA11 – 3 Business DaysFast international delivery to the U.S. or Canada typically by 10.30 a.m. – 12:00 noon
UPS Express 1 – 3 Business DaysExpress international shipping to destinations worldwide typically by 10.30.30 a.m. – 12:00 noon 
UPS Express Freight1 – 3 Business DaysDoor-to-door service for palletized freight shipments with delivery by the end of the day
UPS Express Saver1 – 5 Business DaysFast and economical worldwide delivery during the day
UPS Expedited2 – 5 Business DaysFast delivery for less urgent international small packages with delivery during the day
UPS StandardDay Definite by Date ScheduledFast, reliable service for less urgent shipments

Value-Added Services

UPS offers value-added services such as collection and delivery options, delivery notifications, and special handling to meet your shipping needs. Find some of the commonly used services below. 

*may vary per country

Collection and Delivery 

  • Direct Delivery – ensure high priority or time sensitive shipments don’t get redirected to another location
  • On-Call Collection – convenient scheduling for your package at any time, using any UPS service 
  • Saturday Delivery

Notifications

  • Delivery Confirmation – verify the shipment was delivered with a choice of signature or adult signature options
  • Notification Services – track the status of critical shipments with email notifications 
  • Proof of Delivery – comprehensive proof of delivery information by Web, fax, or mail 

Collect on Delivery 

  • Collect on Delivery (C.O.D.) – collect payment for your shipment at the time of delivery 

When To Use The Delivery Company UPS

  • You want a premium, express service that is fast and reliable
  • You ship internationally and want fast results, especially to the U.S. thanks to UPS’s extensive network in their home nation

UPS is a well recognised brand that provides a premium service to its customers. It’s delivery options are fast, and can have your packages where they need to be in no time. If this is your main goal, then choose UPS as a delivery option.

Shipping UPS with Sendcloud

Our software enables you to automate your UPS shipping process behind your desk. Connect your store to Sendcloud and seamlessly integrate UPS shipping with the following options:

  • UPS Standard
  • UPS Express
  • UPS Express Saver
  • UPS Access Point

Check out which services are available with Sendcloud and in which countries, and how to integrate UPS into your webstore

We hope from this guide you’re now able to decide what delivery services you want to offer your customers, and which carriers you think are best for your company. Using Sendcloud, automate your shipping process to maximise efficiency, and save both time and money.

What carriers do you currently use? Or did this article help you choose the carrier you are going to start shipping with? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Learn more about how Sendcloud works.

Available in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, France and Spain. Coming soon to Italy.

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